Guest Author - Valerie Shoopman
DRM, or Digital Rights Management has been a thorn in our side since the Digital Millennium copyright act of 1998. Finally, it seems user complaints have won over the DRM war, and now we are seeing more and more DRM-free media.
DRM is a pain in the butt, plus it does nothing to deter the digital pirating that continues to go on even after 8-10 years of most all big publishers installing it on the media they publish.
Just like there has always been down through the years, there are a percentage of honest people in the world along with a percentage of dishonest people in the world. Think Pirates of the Caribbean. If everyone had been a pirate, where would we be today?
What the digital world did was make it easier to pirate content either knowingly, or in some cases unknowingly because of mis-information.
However, what DRM did accomplish is to keep everyday users from being able to use the digital content they paid for in the way they want to access it easily and across multiple digital devices.
DRM also makes it much more difficult for many users to transition over to the digital world, even yet today. Itís difficult because of all the hoops you have to jump through, in addition to vendors who refuse to work together.
So I for one, am jumping with joy now that big name recording labels in the music industry are finally realizing (of course, only after the trailblazers showed them the way!) that DRM was hurting sales more than helping to keep digital pirating at bay. The first real break-through happened when Amazon jumped on board the DRM-free bandwagon and released their DRM-free music store. The response has been phenomenal to their MP3, DRM-free music. Not only do they have songs in this easy-to-use format, but they also have complete albums available.
I think that the majority of the people are willing to pay for the music, software, and books they can download digitally, itís just that they would like to see more of the profits go to the actual creator instead of all the middle men. The internet has leveled the playing field for artists, so now even a no-name artist has the same chance for exposure as a big-name artist. The key is they have to have good material, and they have to put it out there to be judged by the listeners.
Also jumping on the DRM-free bandwagon is Random House, a major audio book publisher. Random House just recently announced that they would start offering DRM-free audio books as long as the authors would allow it. Sad to say, some authors are still stuck in the old control mind-set and will not allow their work to be published free of DRM, even though it has been proven that DRM does nothing to stop illegal sharing of digital content.
Random House did extensive testing of DRM-free audio books before making the decision to go that way. Using digital watermarking, they were able to distribute DRM-free audio books, but still track the source of the content without interfering with the user experience. The results of their testing indicated that the free, but illegal audio book copies they found around on the net were not ones they had released DRM-free, but ones that had been copied from the CD, or hacked into through the DRM system.
Thus, their findings matched exactly what has been being said about DRM all along. It does nothing to deter pirated digital content, but does everything to make a poor user experience.
So, hooray for the DRM-free revolution! Iím glad it has finally started and I am looking forward to being able to move on past this dreaded roadblock that weíve been dealing with for so long now.
DRM-free MP3 Downloads by Amazon.comĖ The Top Sellers
DRM-free MP3 Audio Books